Dr.Vijay Agarwal President of Delhi Chapter – Advisor Quality and Business Excellence, Max Healthcare.
Recent awards of huge amounts as compensation for medical negligence has understandably not gone down well with the medical professionals. Such verdicts have resulted in a huge increase in the number of cases filed against doctors, as well as a significant increase in the premiums paid to insurance companies. Unfortunately, this results in more expensive medical care, which is not necessarily better care as is evident from the experience in USA and other developed countries. In addition, hospitals and doctors are now reluctant to take on complicated cases for fear of medico-legal issues, and many have stopped practice. One can understand the importance attached to this issue as the first National Steering Committee to Review Ethical and Legal perspectives of Healthcare in India was formed and its inaugural meeting held on Saturday, 27 June 2015 in Bangalore. The committee is consisting of all major medical and hospital societies in the Country and is led by the Association of Healthcare Providers India (AHPI) and the Indian Medical Association (IMA). A number of strategies were discussed which have been detailed elsewhere in this issue. While we fight for putting a cap on the amount that can be awarded in cases of medical negligence, there is a need to introspect and reduce the chances of medical errors and negligence.
We have to walk the talk of quality and standards in medical practice. In the last 10 years, out of approx. 50000 hospitals, less than 300 hospitals have been certified by NABH. Most specialty organizations have not come out with zero tolerance activities concerning their area. We as doctors have to become much more aware of the changing expectations of the society and learn to take lot more patient safety steps than we take today. This will give you immediate relief from a potential litigation. It is not possible to make a zero error healthcare organization but our efforts in that direction must be visible and sincere….